• Economic analysis of using sheep to control leafy spurge

      Bangsund, D. A.; Nudell, D. J.; Sell, R. S.; Leistritz, F. L. (Society for Range Management, 2001-07-01)
      Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.), a widely established exotic, noxious, perennial weed, is a major threat to rangeland and wildland in the Upper Great Plains. A deterministic, bioeconomic model, incorporating relationships between sheep grazing and leafy spurge control, grass recovery, and forage consumption by cattle, and expected costs and returns from sheep enterprises was developed to evaluate the economic viability of using sheep to control leafy spurge. Various scenarios were developed depicting likely situations facing cattle ranches adding a sheep enterprise for leafy spurge control. Two levels of flock profitability, one based on a level of proficiency achieved by established sheep ranches and one substantially lower than typically achieved in the sheep industry, were combined with debt and no-debt to represent best- and worst-case scenarios, respectively. In the best-case situations, using sheep to control leafy spurge was economical in all of the scenarios examined. In the worst-case situations, the economics of using sheep to control leafy spurge were mixed across the scenarios examined. Leafy spurge control with poor flock proficiency, high fence expense, and unproductive rangeland generally was not economical. Situations with low fencing costs, moderately productive rangeland, and poor flock proficiency resulted in less economic loss than no treatment. Actual returns from leafy spurge control for most ranchers will likely fall between the extremes examined.
    • Restoring tallgrass prairie species mixtures on leafy spurge-infested rangeland

      Masters, R. A.; Beran, D. D.; Gaussoin, R. E. (Society for Range Management, 2001-07-01)
      Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) reduces northern Great Plains rangeland carrying capacity. Treatment strategies were evaluated that suppressed leafy spurge and facilitated establishment of mixtures of native grasses and legumes on range sites near Mason City and Tilden, Nebr. Glyphosate at 1,600 g a.i. (active ingredient) ha(-1) was applied with or without imazapic at 140 or 210 g a.i. ha(-1) in October 1995. In April 1996, standing crop was burned or mowed. Mixtures of native grasses [big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman), indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash), and sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtiplendula (Michx.) Torr.)] were then planted with or without native legumes [leadplant (Amorpha canescens (Nutt.) Pursh), Illinois bundleflower (Desmanthus illinoensis (Michx.) MacM.), and purple prairieclover (Petalostemum purpureum (Vent.) Rybd.)] at 440 pls m(-2) into a non-tilled seedbed. Imazapic was applied at 70 g a.i. ha(-1) in June 1996 to half the plots that had been treated with imazapic in October 1995. Frequency, dry matter yield, and leafy spurge density were measured 14 to 16 months after planting. Leafy spurge density and yield were least, and frequencies and yields of the planted grasses usually were greatest where imazapic had been applied with glyphosate in October 1995. Purple prairieclover was the only planted legume to persist 14 months after planting, and yields were greatest where imazapic was applied with glyphosate. Imazapic applied in June 1996 usually did not improve planted species yields or leafy spurge control. Total vegetation yields were greater where imazapic was applied with glyphosate at both sites and where native species were seeded at Mason City. Vegetation suppression with fall-applied herbicides and removal of standing crop enabled successful establishment of desirable species, increased forage yields, and suppressed leafy spurge.